Names don't get much bigger than Wayne Bennet, Mal Meninga, Craig Bellamy and Cameron Smith when it comes to the impact on Queensland rugby league and its successful history.
With the Maroons now chasing the successor to Wayne Bennett's short stint return that saw Queensland claim the 2020 State of Origin in magnificent fashion, the QRL are on the hunt for a mentor to ignite this new era of Maroons footy.
Former Cowboys coach Paul Green has gained some backing from QRL heads, but it has been the recent support by the aforementioned legendary quartet that has now seen former Melbourne great Billy Slater soar into contention.
Billy Slater with an impossible try saver on Anthony Watmough.
Slater scored plenty of spectacular tries in Origin. But this play was as good as any...
State of Origin 2010#qld #stateoforigin #origin #nrl #queenslander pic.twitter.com/OFc7GnACoa
— Rugby League Best Tries Hits and Biffs (@NBiffs) May 4, 2019
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Slater has received the unparalleled backing for the vacant Queensland coaching gig from Bennett, Meninga, Bellamy and Smith and has the hunger to stick around.
Unlike Green, it is understood that Slater isn't holding an immediate interest to return to the NRL coaching ranks, with QRL looking to land a candidate that will remain at the helm for the next three years at the very least.
A Queensland powerbroker close to The Herald said Slater "offers longevity and stability”.
“He will bring Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston back. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to recall the players who gave Queensland their unparalleled success a few years back.
“Paul Green will coach the team not to lose. Billy Slater will coach the team to win.”
QRL President Bruce Hatcher currently stands in Green's corner, while a surging class of support looks destined to hand Slater a strong case ahead of an important board meeting in two weeks.
Slater Try Minutes ⬆️17
60' min try = 60 - 43*stake win
33' + 60' min tries = 93 - 76*stake win
— PointsBet AU (@PointsBet_AU) June 21, 2017